Final Cut

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The Toronto Metropolitan Police established its Special Affairs Center to handle the unusual occurrence—those incidents that fail to fit into the regular work of the different departments. Once the mainstay of the bureau, Staff Inspector Charlie Salter is now responsible for the activities of the center and, with the retirement of his boss, has become its chief investigator. Indeed, it is former Staff Superintendent Orliff who instigates Charlie’s involvement in the affairs of Balmuto Productions.

The Center specializes in the extraordinary, but Charlie’s latest assignment is particularly unusual. A movie production company shooting in Toronto is experiencing a series of costly delays that may be the result of deliberate sabotage. Charlie is formally assigned act as technical adviser to the group, but his actual brief is to determine which criminal acts are being committed and who is responsible.

Predictably, the level of violence rises as “shooting” progresses. Soon Charlie finds himself compelled to solve a murder in order to determine the identity of the saboteur. But once he determines the identity of the killer, he finds himself faced with two problems. On the one hand, he must sustain his suppositions with evidence capable of withstanding legal challenge. Simultaneously, he must decide whether to serve the cause of law or justice.

Eric Wright is known for well-crafted police procedurals with an amusing twist, and FINAL CUT is no exception. Charlie Salter is a thoroughly well-rounded and excessively normal individual who had a life away from the office that is all the more believable because his problems are those of any husband and father.